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INDOT Officials: I-65 North To Be Closed 4-6 More Weeks

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4:30 p.m. Update:

INDOT now expects the bridge to be closed until mid-September.

The preliminary fix is to drive steel casings through the existing pier footings and deep into the soil.

But INDOT Deputy Commissioner Bob Alderman says that’s similar to the same process that caused the bridge to be unsafe – workers sinking a beam into an artesian well during last week’s construction work.

Alderman says water started pumping from the well into the ground around the bridge.

“As it eroded, that sand layer, it created a large void under the loam soil level,” Alderman says. “That large void destabilized the existing supports for the bridge.”

INDOT is working on the solution with the Federal Highway Administration and contractor Walsh Construction. Walsh won an $82 million contract in January to rehabilitate I-65 from State Road 38 to State Road 25 in Lafayette.

12:00 p.m. Update:

A press release from INDOT identifies the following as the proposed solution for fixing the bridge:

Install high-strength, small-diameter steel casings with rods and grout, known as micropiles, through the footers of the existing pier and deep into the soil. 

The statement also says Walsh Construction employees drove steel piles deep into the ground beneath the bridge, causing the artesian well to spew pressurized water and/or sand and destabilize the bridge.

INDOT officials on Monday declined to say whether, if Walsh was found responsible for the bridge closure, the company would be financially responsible for any monetary damages connected to the traffic problems caused by closing approximately 30 miles of I-65.

11:30 a.m. Update:

INDOT Deputy Commissioner Bob Alderman says the agency may announce its tentative fix later this week.

Alderman says the damage to the bridge could've been caused by erosion and construction puncturing a high pressure artesian well under the bridge.

11:25 a.m. Update: 

Indiana Department of Transportation officials say it'll be at least September before I-65 northbound reopens.

Friday morning, during a State Budget Committee meeting in West Lafayette, INDOT officials estimated it'll take 4-6 more weeks before the road can be made safe for traffic again.

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